DaySparkes has been instructed by one of the leading witnesses in the criminal trial of Lynden Scourfield, the former Head of the Impaired Assets division of HBOS in Reading, and other individuals connected with the now infamous turnaround consultancy, Quayside Corporate Services, to investigate civil claims arising out of what is now reported to be a staggering £1bn fraud.
On 30 January, Mr Scourfield, and David Mills and Michael Bancroft of Quayside, were convicted of bribery and fraud at Southwark Crown Court, along with 3 other defendants. The conviction follows a long and complex criminal investigation by Thames Valley Police.
Between 2002 and 2007, Mr Scourfield imposed Quayside (headed up by David Mills) on numerous SMEs who had been transferred to the “high risk” division of HBOS. SMEs were forced to appoint Quayside as a condition of HBOS’ lending. Once appointed, Quayside parasitically charged enormous consultancy fees, bloated the companies with debt (supported by Mr Scourfield’s lending) and siphoned off tens of millions of pounds for its own benefit. In certain cases, Quayside took aggressive steps to put into default and gain control of the very businesses it was seeking to turnaround.
As part of the corrupt relationship with Mr Mills and Mr Bancroft, Mr Scourfield received thousands of pounds in cash, gifts and free trips. He was not the only HBOS employee to be implicated in the fraud. Mark Dobson, another director in the Impaired Assets Division, was also convicted on Monday afternoon.
This case is one of the largest and most disturbing British banking scandals in living memory. The level and nature of the fraudulent activity to emerge from the criminal trial and the length of time for which the fraud continued is quite breath-taking and the lives of countless individuals and their businesses have been destroyed.